My phone rang on a snowy spring day in Castle Hill Village with the offer of a trip to Brazil, to race in the Rocky Man adventure team race- an offer almost too good to be true. My next adventure was less than 2 weeks away and I was about to go from cold, snowy Castle Hill in New Zealand’s high country to the relatively hot and humid Rio de Janeiro in early November.
From the little time I had to prepare and research the running leg of Rocky Man which I would be racing, I was able to find out that the run was mostly on the road, with some fun, rough looking single track trails in the steep hill side around the city that will host the 2016 Olympic Games. Being the gear geek I am, combined with some seriously damaged toes from racing the 125km Canadian Death race earlier in the year I knew I needed to make sure my footwear was perfect for this mixed terrain race. The loss of toe nails I suffered at the Canadian Death Race was from a combination of hot temps (resulting in my feet swelling up) and very steep downhill sections during the race.
My mind flashed back to a trip to the Hong Kong 100km in February were I was lucky enough to run a short distance in the Salomon XR Missions, during a Salomon HK demo event. Salomon’s XR Mission shoes are dubbed as a “Door to Trail” shoe- meaning they are as at home on the road as they are on the trails. I had spent some quality time in Salomon’s other Door to Trail offering, the CrossMax and knew that the Missions would be perfect for Rocky Man.
The wider toe box of the Missions (compared to my normal ‘go to’ racing shoe, Salomon’s XT Wing SLAB) would allow for any toe or foot swelling that I might encounter during the gruelling 32km, 1500 vertical meter run, especially during the steep downhill sections that the race profile revealed. Other than fit, having a shoe that preformed equally as well on road and trail surfaces would be key and the Door to Trail Mission did just that.
The Rocky Man run was very demanding, with fast, flat road running (not my strength), steep, technical single track trail up and down and then finishing with a quad smashing 5km downhill finish on the road. While I was far from in the best shape for such a race, I couldn’t blame my gear at all. The Missions provided a smooth ride on rolling streets, handled the rough, technical (fun!) trails that were thrown their way and the LT Muscle (a lightweight EVA cushioning) saved my legs on the steep pounding and impact they received during the final steep downhill on the pavement.
If you live in a spot (like most do) where you are running on the streets and roads from home to access your local trails, or even a mixed terrain race, where trails and roads are encountered, the XR Mission from Salomon is well worth a look!
Weight: 326gr per shoe (size US9), stack height: heel 25mm, forefoot (15mm)
Mission reviewed by Grant Guise, a Salomon Running sponsored athlete and winner of the 2012 125km Canadian Death Race and Yurribbilla 56km Ultra (Australia) record holder.